Austin Prep hockey player Bobo Carpenter of North Reading is one sibling of a former National Hockey League star who doesn’t have to rely on his father’s reputation. Bobo has created one of his own.
The 16-year-old sophomore center is one of the centerpieces who have led the only once-beaten Cougars on a surprising journey into the Super 1-A Division semifinals of the MIAA playoffs.
Bob Carpenter, Bobo’s father, has three Stanley Cup rings which he shares with his children from his playing and coaching days with the New Jersey Devils.
Bob Carpenter was Sports Illustrated’s “Can’t Miss Kid” on the cover during his senior year at St. John’s Prep, a first-round pick in the amateur draft who logged 18 years in the NHL. He also is the first American to score 50 goals in the NHL and a member of the U.S. Hockey Hall of Fame.
Bobo Carpenter faces his father’s alma mater at Tsongas Arena in Lowell today at 7:45 p.m.
Bobo has evolved into one of the most promising sophomore talents in Division 1 in what has been a stunning year for him.
“He’s one of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever coached,” Austin Prep’s Louis Finnochio said. “Bar none. He goes and goes and goes. Bobo’s relentless. (He’s) already a leader as a sophomore and he’s got one of the hardest shots I’ve seen from a schoolboy. From afar, up close, anywhere on the ice he’s a threat.”
Bobo played a half season at Governors Academy last season, just 13 games, because he suffered a concussion. The doctors felt it was serious enough to take him off skates for six months.
“I transferred to Austin because I wanted a smaller school, to be closer to home, and Governors had that private school rule that a student had to participate in three sports.”
Bobo, whose sister Alex Carpenter is the top scorer for Boston College women’s hockey, is leading the Cougars in scoring with 16 goals and 16 assists for 32 points — two points more than Jim Vesey, son of Merrimack College Hall of Famer Jim Vesey, an ex-Bruin.
A former two-time Salem State captain, Steve McAdam, who now directs, the Valley Warriors program, is one of Bobo’s major boosters.
“He shoots it like a pro, like Louis mentioned, and that’s no exaggeration,” McAdam said. “He’s still young. But you’ve got to see him fire that puck. He’s not always accurate, but he’s getting there in a hurry.”
McAdam said Bobo would have 20 goals with any luck. He’s hit at least 15 crossbars.
“He’s probably 5-10, 5-11, 185, and strong,” McAdam said.
“He’s also a great faceoff man,” McAdam added. “I’m sure his father taught him that skill, since he was great at that. Just a great kid, a coach’s dream. Always doing the extra work and skates forever. He’s a great teammate as well. Never negative. He’s what you look for. A very determined kid who has a great disposition.”
Guess who handed Austin its only loss this season?
Right on. St. John’s Prep, a 5-1 defeat midseason.
Will St. John’s overlook Austin?
“There’s always a chance,” Bobo said.
Finnochio added, “They were the better team that night.”
“But we’ve improved considerably,” Bobo assured. “Actually, the Cougars gave up two quick goals and the Prep’s experience was a huge factor in the outcome.
Austin has nine freshmen who have gained a ton of experience in the second half of the season.
“That was our worst game without a doubt,” Bobo said.